How Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell Got Oprah to Appear in ‘Welcome to Me’

Toronto 2014: It took a letter signed by some very important people for the talk show host to agree to let filmmakers use her name and likeness onscreen

Shira Piven’s comedy “Welcome to Me” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday afternoon to a very warm reception.

In the film — which also stars James Marsden, Linda Cardellini and Wes Bentley — Kristen Wiig plays a woman with borderline personality disorder who is obsessed with both Oprah Winfrey and playing the lottery.

When she wins $86 million, she uses the winnings to finance her own talk show.

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At the Q&A after the movie, TheWrap’s Jeff Sneider asked the filmmakers how they convinced Winfrey to lend her image to the film.

The answer was simple. It took one letter, signed by some very important people.

Producer Adam McKay said that WME chief Ari Emmanuel was among those who signed the letter while director Piven relayed that producer Will Ferrell added his signature to it.

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For his part, Ferrell joked that he had been staying at one of Winfrey’s houses and he’s friends with her so it was no problem for him. Filmmakers also revealed that right before cameras rolled they were nervous that Winfrey wouldn’t agree to appear, but she came through in the end.

The Q&A also took on the serious topic of mental illness and how the audience is invited to laugh with Wiig’s character, but they’re never laughing at her.

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In one scene, Wiig appears completely naked onscreen as she walks through a casino, and the actress said it was scary seeing herself naked on the big screen.

Another audience member asked Ferrell why he’s sporting a full beard, and the producer answered it was leftover from the hockey playoffs (as he had grown it as a good luck charm).

The film is currently seeking distribution, and after the well received premiere screening, expect a deal to come together quickly.